The trouble with Fathers’ Day

It’s silly really, but I have always found Fathers’ Day difficult to handle in church. That is not to say that I find Mothers’ Day easy either. As I have shared on here before, anyone leading a Mothers’ Day service must tread a delicate tightrope between those who love to be mothers, those who are clinging onto motherhood by their fingernails, those who would love to be mothers but cannot, and those who find that the day only serves to remind them of a mother they have lost.

So what’s the problem with fathers’ day, then?

  • I regard it as a modern invention,invented by card manufacturers – but then again, any excuse to celebrate fatherhood & pray for fathers should be welcome
  • God is the only father we should focus on in church – hmm…does that mean we should not bring in anyone or anything else from the world into our worship focus?
  • Like many men, I’m sure – I am keenly aware of my own inadequacies as a father – but are not many women ministers who run mothers’ day services aware of their own shortcomings as mums?
In short, the excuses don’t really stack up. Not only that, but one of our biggest growth areas in the church has been a monthly “who let the dads out”  group for dads and toddlers – so popular that it has quadrupled in size since we started it. Earlier this year I asked a dad, who attends the group but does not attend the church, to write an item for our AGM report – an excerpt is below:

Who let the dads out?’ gave me community.  It gave me a break.  It gave my wife a break.  It introduced me to men in the same boat.  It introduced my children to other children.  It showed me the meaning of ‘open to all’ community efforts.  It introduced me to neighbours, future friends, an inspiring preacher. It brought hope, sharing, help, tea, conversation, biscuits and wonderful occasional bacon sandwiches. 

When I read that, I feel that maybe I am being too precious about the dilemmas of fathers’ day. How do you feel?